News & Analysis
Reuters Gets It Right ... Sort Of
Why the Yahoos at Yahoo were wrong to fire David Chalian ... Chalian, the Washington bureau chief for Yahoo News, ridiculed Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, during a Monday webcast from the Republican National Convention. It's not uncommon for bureau chiefs, beat reporters or copy editors to verbally eviscerate politicians, corporate leaders, slumping sluggers or any other notable not in the room at the time, but they usually have the good sense to first check to see if a microphone is on. Chalian did not. His topic was Hurricane Isaac, which was then bound for New Orleans, and he coached an unidentified guest on how to typify the Romneys: "Feel free to say, 'They're not concerned at all. They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.'" After NewsBusters.org posted the audio, Yahoo News counted to one and then fired Chalian. – Reuters/Jack Shafer
Dominant Social Theme: Reporters are like priests, doctors and judges. Involved in their profession, they turn into non-human, objective professionals.
Free-Market Analysis: Jack Shafer has written a pretty good article here, considering it appears in Reuters. As you can see above, he is defending the unfortunate David Chalian who had the misfortune of making a private sentiment public.
It is startling because Reuters provides us with a prime example of the "priesthood" approach to journalism. This approach holds that journalist are "expert" communicators and that there is a good deal of subtlety and professionalism to their communicative roles.
Of course, if one looks at the evolution of journalism is it fairly clear that journalists are not any more "expert" than other so-called experts. Yesterday's common wisdom is tomorrow's "old wives' tale." Here's some more from Shafer's article:
Chalian, of course, was all apologies after his sacking, tweeting, "I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke." The apology continued in a non-public Facebook posting, where he stated: "I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics. I have apologized to the Romney campaign, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gov. and Mrs. Romney."
Whatever a quip like "have a party with black people drowning" is, it's not a joke. I suspect that the remarks conform closely to Chalian's view of the Romneys as a callous couple and accurately represent the direction he hoped his guest would take.
As newsroom denunciations go, it was pretty mild. I've heard much worse from reporters and editors in my time. I have little idea of what Chalian is really talking about when he rambles on about "campaign optics" other than to assume that he's the sort of guy who when stuck in a hole thinks he'll free himself by digging deeper.
Chalian, whom I've never met, smeared the red herring of a "joke" all over his comment because the journalistic orthodoxy to which he apparently subscribes maintains that news reporters and news editors must not have opinions, of if they do, they must not state them.
... Reporters and editors have opinions, and sometimes they're going to express them, much to their embarrassment and to the horror of their bosses, who want to pretend that everybody on staff resembles Lady Justice blindfolded, holding a balance.
Chalian's crime wasn't what he said. I'm sure that if he had made the same statement in front of his Yahoo News bosses, some would have nodded in agreement, and nobody would have laughed. His crime was rather where he said it, namely in public ...
Shafer goes on to suggest that Yahoo should have suspended Shafer and then used the incident to explain that reporters and editors DO have opinions, and that having opinions can be GOOD for newsgathering.
He also writes that Chalian is the norm (in that he holds opinions) and "represents the now-silenced majority." This last bit is where Shafer finally falls away in terms of logic and acuity.
The majority is now silenced? NOW? ... This has been going on for decades, maybe a century or more. After the US Civil War, newspapers began to merge and instead of promoting their religious and political affiliations they began to hide them. By the 1920s, the US Congressional Record held the following statement from Congressman Francis Oscar Callaway of Texas:
Mr. CALLAWAY: Mr. Chairman, under unanimous consent, I insert into the Record at this point a statement showing the newspaper combination, which explains their activity in the war matter, just discussed by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MOORE]:
"In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship building and powder interests and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press in the United States...
"This contract is in existence at the present time, and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of the country being filled with all sorts of preparedness arguments and misrepresentations as to the present condition of the United States Army and Navy, and the possibility and probability of the United States being attacked by foreign foes.
"This policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served. The effectiveness of this scheme has been conclusively demonstrated by the character of the stuff carried in the daily press throughout the country since March, 1915.
They have resorted to anything necessary to commercialize public sentiment and sandbag the National Congress into making extravagant and wasteful appropriations for the Army and Navy under false pretense that it was necessary. Their stock argument is that it is 'patriotism.' They are playing on every prejudice and passion of the American people."
(U.S. Congressional Record February 9, 1917, page 2947)
If people want to know why the media is controlled, well, they can probably trace it back to this. It is no coincidence that Morgan bought up the media after he helped create the Federal Reserve in 1913. As students of what we call directed history, we're not at all surprised.
The Fed and other engines like it were to provide the monetary fuel for world government. But it wouldn't do to have reporters covering every part of the globalist conspiracy going forward. Hence, the buyout.
Out of this buyout flowed the professionalization of the media. Not only would publishers and editors write what Money Power wished them to write, but those who flowed into the industry would gradually be inculcated with the idea that they were there to "report," not to provide an opinionated frame of reference.
The opinions would come from the top. And that's just what happened. The mainstream media has become an echo chamber for power elite dominant social themes. These fear-based promotions are intended to frighten people into giving up wealth and power to specially prepared globalist facilities like the UN, IMF, World Bank, etc.
But if one is using the media to propagandize the population, it is not a good idea to have reporters who will report differently. The solution is to instruct writers to provide readers with "just the facts."
Of course, the facts are those provided by think tanks, universities and political instrumentalities. In other words, elite promotions are engineered from the top down. The poor scribe doing the job of "professional reporting" is merely providing viewers with what the globalists want reported.
This is the real reason − why Chalian was fired, and why the firings will continue for the foreseeable future ... until the mainstream media gradually collapses into bankruptcies and disrepute. This is happening already.
What we call the Internet Reformation has given people a new and different appreciation of the Way the World Works. It is something of a power elite nightmare. They spent all this time and energy trying to control the Western press and in a single decade every single dominant social theme that they have promoted has come under attack.
Shafer wants the mainstream media to recognize the human nature of its reporters. But in a sense, he doesn't have to make that plea. The mainstream is increasingly irrelevant. There are hundreds, thousands of opinionated blogs on the Internet, and many tell the truth as their authors see it.
The age of opinion-based journalism has returned in a rush. It's one of the elements that makes Internet reporting compelling and even incisive.
Conclusion: Shafer doesn't have to make a plea for more opinionated reporting. It's all around him!
Posted by NAPpy on 09/04/12 06:55 PM
I'm someone who gets all of his news off the internet. I do so, because I became aware of just how deceitful and biased the mainstream news was. Given this, I can't say I feel very sorry for the continued demise of these very deserving institutions.